2023 Honda Classic Betting Picks and Predictions

The 2023 Honda Classic kicks off in three days. Golf betting expert Andy Lack is here to break down the Honda Classic and share his best predictions and betting picks.

Aaron Wise shot on 4th hole during first round at Sentry Tournament of Champions
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour now heads East for the first stop of the “Florida Swing,” the Honda Classic. The event has been a staple of the schedule since 1972, and it has gone through a number of title and venue changes before settling on the Champion Course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Many PGA Tour pros will have the benefit of sleeping in their own bed this week, as Palm Beach county has become a hotbed for PGA Tour professionals over the recent years. 

Unfortunately, due to its schedule spot and elevated status, it’s also a very logical rest week for the world’s best, with the Arnold Palmer Invitational and PLAYERS Championship, two more elevated events, right on the horizon. Still, the field will be headlined by defending champion Sepp Straka, Sungjae Im, Shane Lowry, Aaron Wise, and Billy Horschel, amongst others. Consistently ranking as one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour, with 26 individual water hazards, the Honda Classic is still an event that seemingly always delivers in the drama category.

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Honda Classic: Course Preview

PGA National

The PGA Tour returns this week to Bermuda grass, generally a welcome surface compared to the challenge of West Coast Poa, yet PGA National consistently still ranks as one of the most difficult courses to hole putts on inside 15 feet. The green complexes are far from the only threat at PGA National, as water comes into play on 15 of 18 holes, including the infamous “Bear Trap,” one of the toughest three-hole stretches on the PGA Tour. All three holes play close to a quarter stroke over par and feature over a 15% bogey rate. The devious 15th hole features almost a 10% double bogey rate. I wish I could say that getting through the “Bear Trap,” is the main objective, but none of the holes in this stretch even rank as inside the top three in difficulty. Holes such as the 6th, 10th, and 11th all also play to a scoring average of over a quarter stroke over par and feature a bogey rate upwards of 19%. Over a third of the field is making a bogey or worse on the sixth hole. 

Ultimately, PGA National consistently ranks as one of the toughest non-major courses on the PGA Tour schedule every single year. Last year, it played as the seventh most difficult course on the PGA Tour, and each of the last eight years, it has ranked as one of the 10 toughest courses on Tour, including the four majors. This is a week where I will primarily be looking to identify players that can keep the ball in play off the tee, are strong middle iron players, and are elite scramblers. Even the strongest ball-strikers in the world will miss their fair share of greens and be forced to rely on their short game and putting inside 10 feet. My ideal player this week is an above-average ball striker with a proven track record of success on Bermuda grass and tougher, major championship-style tests.

Honda Classic Key Stats

  • Long-term Proximity 125-200 yards
  • Long-term Bermuda grass Putting and Putting Inside 10 feet
  • Scrambling

Honda Classic Picks and Predictions: Outright Winner

Aaron Wise (+2700) (Bet $100 to collect $2,800) The best odds for this Aaron Wise pick is at FanDuel

While Aaron Wise was a popular breakout candidate pick at the start of the season, it’s undeniable that he has not gotten off to the start that many were hoping for. I’m confident that changes this week in Palm Beach. Despite missing the cut in Phoenix, Wise still gained 0.3 strokes off the tee and one stroke on approach, improving in both ball-striking categories from another disappointing missed cut at the American Express. In my opinion, Wise is a top-five player in this field, behind only Sungjae Im, Shane Lowry, and Billy Horschel, and we are catching him at a more than fair price due to his slow start to the season. 

This should not be something to be concerned about, as Wise got off to an even worse start last year before turning his season around in Florida. The 26-year-old remains one of the better long-term Bermuda putters in this field, and I trust his ability to stay within himself on a golf course with trouble at every turn. Wise ranks sixth in this field in bogey avoidance and third in this field in scrambling over his last 50 rounds. The former AT&T Byron Nelson winner is primed to pick up victory number two this week in Palm Beach Gardens.  

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Aaron Wise Outright Odds Comparison
SportsbookOddsPayout ($100 Wager)
FanDuel Sportsbook+2700$2800
DraftKings Sportsbook+2500$2600
Bet365 Sportsbook+2500$2600
BetMGM Sportsbook+2200$2200

Ensure you are getting the very best odds on these PGA Tour picks and predictions, by comparing the odds of each selection, before placing your wager. As you can see from Aaron Wise's odds above, you can win as much as $500 more, just by placing your bet with FanDuel rather than BetMGM this week.

Lee Hodges (+5000) (Bet $100 to collect $5,100) DraftKings has the best odds for Lee Hodges

Lee Hodges came through for me last week in a big way on DraftKings and the top-20 market, and I see no reason to hop off now that we are traveling to a course that he finished 9th at last year, gaining strokes in all four major categories. While he had been struggling to find form earlier in the year, the 27-year-old has proven his ball-striking upside by gaining 2.1 strokes on approach in a world-class field last week at Riviera. Now he enters a tournament where he is iron play is the class of the field, ranking ninth in this field in strokes gained approach over his last 36 rounds. 

Even more impressively, he is pound for pound the best middle iron player teeing it up in Florida this week as well, ranking first in long-term proximity from 150-175 yards. With a 16th-place finish at TPC Twin Cities and a 13th-place finish at the FedEx St. Jude Championship, it’s clear that he does his best work on water-logged courses that place an emphasis on keeping the ball in play off the tee and middle iron play, and I expect him to be firmly in the mix come Sunday afternoon at PGA National.

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Lee Hodges Outright Odds Comparison
SportsbookOddsPayout ($100 Wager)
DraftKings Sportsbook+5000$5100
BetMGM Sportsbook+5000$5100
FanDuel Sportsbook+4600$4700
Bet365 Sportsbook+4000$4100

As Lee Hodges' outright odds above show, it pays to shop around. Hodges is as short as +4000 with Bet365, and as long as +5000 on DraftKings and BetMGM. The difference in your payout, just for wagering at DraftKings or BetMGM this week, is up to a $1000 more than their competitors. Do not sell yourself short this week, and ensure you are comparing odds each time.

Andy Lack

A PGA Tour writer and podcaster from Manhattan, New York, Andy Lack has contributed to sites such as Golf Digest, GolfWRX, OddsChecker Rotoballer, the Score, and now Golf Monthly. Andy is also the host of a golf betting and daily fantasy podcast, Inside Golf Podcast, as well as "The Scramble” with Rick Gehman, and a recurring guest on the Pat Mayo Experience. When he’s not writing, Andy can likely be found somewhere on a golf course pursuing his lifelong dream of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur.